Letting tenants keep pets has become a sticking point for landlords concerned about upsetting the neighbours and protecting their property from avoidable wear and tear.
But with an estimated 78% of pet owners reportedly having difficulty finding properties which allow their fluffy friends, permitting pets brings a raft of benefits too.
This includes happier tenants, longer leases, and more revenue due to fewer renting gaps and the ability to charge higher rent.
So with 46% of UK renters owning a pet, can you afford to exclude almost half the market?
Here’s a list of pros and cons to consider before saying yes to pets.
Pros of letting tenants keep pets
1. You can make more money
Quite simply, people will be willing to pay more rent to keep their beloved pets. Similarly, pet owners can take up to seven times longer to rent a home – meaning they’re likely to stay for the long-haul – stopping a revolving door of tenants.
2. Opening up the tenant pool
By including pet owners you could be doubling the choice of tenants, meaning you can hand-pick the best ones, taking their pet’s behaviour into account.
3. Stop dogs from being rehomed
According to Dogs Trust, the most common reason for dogs being rehoused through them was because the owners were not allowed to bring them into their new rental.
4. Tenants will make it up to you
As pet-friendly properties are scarce, tenants will likely repay the favour. For example, by paying the rent on time and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
5. Stop tenants going under the radar
Your tenants may try to keep a pet without your consent, which would take away the upper hand you would gain by laying out the ground rules and writing them into the tenancy agreement.
Cons of letting tenants keep pets
1. Pets can be destructive and messy
If your property is furnished, consider the effect of pets on the furniture. For example, claw marks on sofas, scratched wooden floors, and stained carpets.
2. You risk alienating the neighbours
There are a host of reasons neighbours might object to living next to pets, including fear and noise. In the worst-case scenario, pet habits such as dogs barking in the night might mean neighbours make complaints.
3. Some properties aren’t right for pets
For example, if your property is a fifth-floor flat, it may not be ethical or practical for a tenant to keep a cat indoors.
4. You could cause problems for the next tenants
Pets can cause allergy and flea infestation problems, creating new – and costly- issues for you to address once the tenants have left.
5. You may not be covered by your insurance
Your landlord insurance policy may become invalidated if a pet lives on the property, meaning you will have to take out additional cover for accidental pet damage. So always check your individual policy before making any decisions.
Overcoming the cons of lets with pets
Take it on a case-by-case basis
Not all dogs are the same. Meet the tenant – and their pet – in advance.
Do your research to get an idea of different breeds and their temperaments to know, for example, what types of dog are likely to cause less hassle than others.
Take a reference from previous landlords
If there are any alarm bells such as complaints from neighbours about the dog howling all night or cats digging up their flowers, you can make an informed decision.
Raise the deposit to cover any pet damage
You are entitled to add in non-refundable cleaning and sanitation costs to your deposit which will cover the pet-specific professional cleaning required at the end of the tenancy. Agree the charge beforehand and provide a quote from a cleaning company to show this is a fair amount.
Consider a six-month tenancy agreement
A shorter initial tenancy can protect you from problematic pets by giving you a trial period, letting you consider extending the contract once you know the pet better.
Allowing pets can bring you financial benefits as a landlord, but there’s plenty of drawbacks if the pet is badly behaved.
If you decide to take the risk, make sure you perform thorough checks on the pet and its behaviour before the tenancy by researching and requesting references from previous landlords.
Finally, raise the deposit and make sure you’re covered by your insurance for any pet-related damage.
We hope this helps but if you are a landlord with any queries don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts today.
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